Injury concerns cloud vital West Ham victory over Aston Villa


After initial celebrations of another three points in the Premier League had dampened in East London, West Ham fans would have spoken nervously after seeing Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell depart through injury.

Two of the Hammers’ most important players, Antonio and Cresswell, will be crucial to any attempt to gain European football again next season, starting with West Ham’s Europa League round of 32 second leg against Sevilla on Thursday.

David Moyes’ lack of squad options could be ultimately costing his side injuries, with Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Jarrod Bowen and Craig Dawson all having completed over 3,000 Premier League minutes this season.

Hammers boss Moyes understands that the full extent of his squad will be needed to contribute as the season reaches its finale.

“We need everybody to do a job for us.

“We’re going to get injuries. We’re trying to go as strong as we can in all the games, because we want to be in a European position in the league and we want to try and win the UEFA Europa League.

“There are very few games where we can say: “we can rest a few players here and we can do something different.” At the moment, the biggest thing we can talk about is about the resilience of the players.”

It would be Antonio’s replacement, Andriy Yarmolenko, who would open the scoring at the London Stadium after receiving a ball from Said Benrahma.

Having arrived onto the pitch to raptures of applause in support of the Ukrainian’s recent struggles, the forward brought a cross down well inside the area before poking the ball past Emiliano Martinez to give the home side the lead.

Pablo Fornals would double the advantage 12 minutes later as West Ham turned their first half possession into second half chances to put Villa to the sword.

Jacob Ramsey would restore one back for Steven Gerrard’s men with stoppage time on the horizon with a superb finish from just outside the box, but the visitors had left their attacking intent until too late.

Gerrard rued a day where moments went against his side and felt unlucky to leave London without a point.

“A lot of moments went against us today. It wasn’t our day and we’ve got a couple of injuries on the back of it.

“We go away disappointed with the result. As I said after the game against Leeds when we were feeling great, let’s stay calm, reset and get ready for Arsenal next week.

“We’ve got ten games to go and a lot to play for, in terms of where we finish.”

For Villa, a top-half finish must be the target as they consolidate their Premier League position and build towards another busy transfer window in the summer.

West Ham’s victory on Sunday has ensured their European hopes in the league have been boosted, but now their attention turns to the Europa League.

Moyes will be sweating over the availability of Antonio and Bowen as the match closes in but the London Stadium is set to be rocking whatever the line-up on Thursday night.

Steve Clare will be at the London Stadium for West Ham’s Europa League tie with Sevilla on Thursday. 

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